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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Somewhere in the middle of college I read all of Nixon's books. I was born in 1970 and grew up being told that Nixon was the anti-christ, and I figured I had had enough of that and wanted to see what he had to say.

    I was astounded but some of the things he talked about. Secret bombing of Cambodia? Nixon says that he had a deal with Prince Sihanouk because neither of them wanted the North Vietmanese there. Many other incidents, especially his travels and dealings as vice president (Rn: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon... [amazon.com]) made me believe that whatever is happening behind the scenes I do not want to know. I still think he's a ruthless bastard, but what does that matter?

    After that I read G. Gordon Liddy's book (Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon... [amazon.com]) to see what his major damage was. Now, there is a sick sonovabitch. On his own admission he operates in a loose and creative environment, but then, he says every presidential campaign has somebody like him, too.

    But then I saw Dick [imdb.com] (no, not that Dick [activestate.com]), and that made me understand the whole John Dean thing, which always confused me.

    I have seen my share of shit and seen it misreported in the news. Most people would not have very relaxed lives if they knew all of the shit that almost happened, then did not. Now that a lot of people on the Net, small news stories that would have normally gone no where become big stories. Anthrax today? Oops - false postive. Missing vials of black death? Waaaaa? [comedycentral.com] Nope - all is well. That sort of stuff has always been happening, but we don't know about it, and most of the time it turns out to be nothing.

    I would rather not know how many times we were close to nuclear extinction, and so on.
    • Yeah, while Nixon did a lot of things we don't approve of, and in some cases certainly were quite bad, Nixon talked briefly about how Kennedy and Johnson did similar things (for example, he said Kennedy and Johnson were both involved in buggings that had nothing to do with national security, including buggings of various lobbies, of Goldwater, of members of national conventions, etc.). It seemed to me Nixon was not trying to excuse himself, but to let people know that he wasn't all that different from the
      • Lyndon Johnson was the real gadget freak. He recorded everything.

        The Civil Rights Musuem [civilrightsmuseum.org] in Memphis, Tennessee has recorded phone calls between Johnson and Governor Wallace. The things that they actually discussed were not the issues that I was taught in high school history classes.

        Some of the recently released Johnson tapes also show that his public position on Vietnam was not his private position. Much like you say, he inherited a bad situation and a lot of people working at cross purposes.

        As you sa